Friday, August 24, 2018


With so many novels to choose from, and only so many ways to present a common plot, what sets one story apart from another?

I believe inspiration plays a significant role.

Christian novels often point towards the gospel, or may nod at the development of a character’s faith. And those works surely come from a source of spiritual inspiration. But I want to talk about inspiration that is more basic, or perhaps less spiritual than that:-)
There’s a creative stimulus behind every story. And that is what makes a story as unique as the person telling it.
I often read the letters pinned to the readers inside of a novel. Not all authors do this, but some will share what inspired them to write that particular story in the first place. 

Inspiration comes from many and sometimes unlikely sources: news articles, fictionalization of real people who lived centuries before, famous events, even vague recollections of a dream. (That last one is mine.)

Sometimes, an author’s inspiration will come from recorded events like wars or other tragedies, and how people living then would've been affected. For example, in the opening season of “Downtown Abbey”, Mary’s fiancĂ© was said to have died in the sinking of the Titanic. It was a minor reference, but it set the backdrop of a family having to deal with the loss of the heir for which their estate was entailed to. Hence, the uncertainty of their future unfolded before us in dramatic flair, and hooked us for several seasons. 

New novels are often born from the retelling of folklore and legends like Camelot or Robin Hood. Dystopian books and fantasies create new worlds for us to get lost in. But what inspired those worlds, or makes the retelling of a well-known story different from a previous one? A fellow author once mentioned that in creating a dystopian series, the question of “what if” was posed—from it, nations were divided differently and certain laws were imposed.

Inspiration can make each story inherently different, because similar stories, and novels with basic plot lines set them apart as the author’s unique vision shines through the characters, and the events that set the story in motion.

As always, your voice matters so keep writing.

Penelope grew up in Tennessee, but has lived in various states and a few countries outside the United States. She holds a BS in Business/Political Science and a MS in Multinational Commerce from Boston University.
After working in the field of banking and finance, she left to invest her time with her children at home, and occasionally worked as a substitute teacher. Today, she resides in Indiana with her family where she serves in her church, and occasionally teaches a Bible study or Precepts.

An avid reader of fiction and perpetual student of Biblical truth, she is pursing the life of a writer. She believes her roots, faith, and her experience with other places and cultures, all meld into the voice that splashes onto the pages of her novels.

A Powerful Voice and A Furrow So Deep are Christian Romances published through Anaiah Press, LLC. And her Christmas novella, My Christmas Hope, will be released November 16, 2018.

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